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Tests of Canadian hotels indicate high levels of contamination
An investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Company has uncovered significant levels of contamination in a variety of hotels throughout Canada.
The tests - said to be the largest such examination of Canadian hotels ever undertaken, included 54 hotel rooms in six different hotel chains representing budget, mid-range, and luxury hotels.
Researchers looked for microbial contamination on more than 800 'high-touch' surfaces in the hotel rooms using an ATP metering system, (ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate and is produced by all living things, including germs, bacteria, etc. If found on a surface it is often viewed as a 'red flag' that potentially harmful contaminants are present.).
An ATP reading lower than 300 was rated a 'pass', indicating a low level of contamination; a reading of 300 to 999 was considered to be in the 'caution zone' and a reading higher than 1,000 was deemed 'fail', indicating serious levels of contamination.
The tests revealed the most significant contamination was on three different hotel surfaces:
* Bed comforters: rated a fail in half the hotel guest rooms tested
* TV remote controls: 70% rated a caution or fail
* Bathroom faucets: 30% rated a fail
Additionally, the tests revealed many of the luxury hotels actually had higher ATP readings than many of the budget and mid-range hotels.
Says microbiologist Keith Warriner of Canada's University of Guelph who headed the investigation team: "I was absolutely amazed to see how high some of the ATP counts were. They were very alarming."
He adds that while the hotel guest rooms all looked clean, the study confirms that looks can be deceiving.
According to Mike Sawchuk, Vice President and General Manager of Enviro-Solutions, a leading manufacturer of green cleaning chemicals, the researchers concluded that the main reason for the high ATP ratings in the hotels was likely a combination of improper cleaning products and procedures as well as an overburdened hotel staff.
"In many Canadian hotels, just as in the United States, housekeepers are often asked to clean so many rooms, it can be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as they require. In a worst case scenario, the health of some hotel guests as well as the cleaners and other hotel staff are potentially at risk."
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6th December 2012